Friday, December 1, 2017

Net Neutrality: Idealism, Publicity, and Smokescreen

Yeah, yeah. Everybody's seen some of the panic about the expiration of the Net Neutrality rules. But, seeing that the big tech companies are pushing for it begs some questions. Why does Twitter want it? Or Facebook?  What do the rules actually do?

We've been told in the past that it prevents ISPs from anticompetitive practices, such as throttling speeds and censoring content. Supposedly, this keeps the internet "free". But we should be smarter than that these days. After all, it's not the routers of information that are the censorship sources most of the time now.

No, the big companies are pretending to be virtuous with this move. Google may have abandoned "don't be evil" as a company motto, but they still know the import of looking like the good guy. Same with Twitter and Facebook. It also distracts from the moves they're really making. Appeal to the idealism of the crowd, and they won't see what the other hand is doing, at least for awhile.

We've seen suspension of accounts, demonetization of channels, deletion of content, and more from these guys. They carry these moves out with abandon. Why? Because they're effective monopolies. Oh, I know, Daily motion, vimeo, and others exist to "compete" with YouTube, but how many actually use them? Because YT is where the traffic is.

Facebook has a couple of companies supposedly attempting to compete. But it's the same thing. Content matters, but only in relation to the fact that it attracts new traffic. You have to do the same thing, and better to draw people away from the old interface.

Let's look at Twitter. Yes, Gab exists, and I don't know its current state. I do know that I stopped using my account after things started getting really heavy on the personal attacks for no reason. I don't mean an occasional fight, I was seeing constant garbage from people that were engaging and amusing when they had been on twitter. Gab also wasn't driving any traffic here, so I quit using the account. Without a benefit, there was no point.

So, what's with all the smokescreens? Razorfist has alluded to Net Neutrality being unnecessary due to antitrust laws. And to a point, that's true. The fact is, it distracted from those laws, which was the whole point. These giants control most of the traffic online, most of what people see and hear, and how. They've also been caught lying about their policies and numbers on multiple occasions.

BREAK THEM UP.  They rule the internet in many ways more than the phone companies used to, before that got broken up. But not regionally, no. Twitter will likely die on its own, but YouTube is propped up by Google despite losing money. Facebook, I don't know how to split. I'd even favor splitting Amazon's digital and physical product delivery companies. All of these companies are shaping how people view things, and pushing a game of social justice at some level. As we know...

When you play Social Justice, the world loses.

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